By Matt Leon
WEST CHESTER, Pa., (CBS) — After 27 years at the helm of the West Chester University women’s basketball team, head coach Deirdre Kane announced her retirement on Tuesday.
West Chester alum, and Kane’s longtime assistant, Kiera Wooden, will take over the program starting with the upcoming 2014-15 season.
The announcement of the passing of the torch from Kane to Wooden came at a Tuesday afternoon press conference on campus.
“It was really touching,” Kane told KYW Newsradio in a phone interview following the press conference. “There were former players, current players, people I worked with at the university. It made me very emotional. Of course they asked the legacy question at the end and I broke down a little. But it was just very joyful really. Especially with my assistant being announced (as the new head coach) at the same press conference. And my family being there, my husband, my son and my daughter-in-law and my future grandson. It was just a great day.”
She says the decision to retire was one that had been in the works for awhile.
“It’s something that I had anticipated,” Kane said. “Because coaching is a young person’s profession, unless you’re at those places that have all the luxuries of having large staffs and many people to do the grunt work. But at the Division II level, a lot of us do our own grunt work. It’s something that I planned and definitely looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”
She says when she first came to West Chester in 1987, she didn’t anticipate it being the final stop of her career.
“At that point in my life, my husband’s career was taking us different places,” Kane said. “And I went from Salisbury University (as head coach), to Swarthmore (as head coach), to Penn (as an assistant) to West Chester. So West Chester was actually my fourth job in four years. There was no way on Earth I thought I would be retiring from West Chester 27 years later. Time passes, life happens. But it was sure a great way to pass the time.”
Kane won 447 games in her 27 years at West Chester. She was named PSAC East Coach of the Year five times and took the Golden Rams to the NCAA Division II Tournament four times. But she says her coaching career was about much more than what the scoreboard said.
“I think the top of my list (of highlights) really doesn’t have anything to do with wins or losses,” Kane said. “I’m very proud that I was able to take a leadership role, statewide, in our coaches organization. I’m very proud that someone who played for me and has been my assistant for the past ten years is taking over at West Chester. My 27-year legacy has a chance to double itself and become a 54-year legacy. Kiera Wooden is exactly the same age I was when I got the job, so hopefully she’ll find a home here just as I did.”
As for what is next for Kane, she is blocking out very large segments of time for her soon-to-be born grandson, looking to play some golf and continue her work with various charities. But without coaching, her day-to-day schedule has now opened up significantly. And that is just fine with her.
“Not having a full agenda everyday looks kind of inviting right now,” Kane said.
You can follow Matt on twitter @mattleonkyw.
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